Final Fantasy XIV has just enjoyed an explosion of popularity (which is good) that has brought such an influx of players that it's been tough to even log into the game (which is bad). causing massive delays on global servers.That rise can be attributed both to the accessibility of the game's free trial, as well as a mass exodus of players from World of Warcraft disappointed with a long wait for new content.
Says Yoshida: "We deeply apologise for the situation ." To prevent further congestion, Yoshida is asking players to log out of the game while idle. Square Enix have also implemented an automatic logout if you're idle for 30 minutes. He also requests that players avoid creating new characters during peak times as this causes longer congestion.
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To the most seasoned of MMO players, this sounds like a reasonable response. People who are AFK (or away from keyboard) for an extended period of time are, by definition, not playing the game and thereby sucking away valuable bandwidth from players who want to experience all FFXIV has to offer. But, just as the veteran MMO players experiencing the game for the first time are figuring out, FFXIV is just built different. And kicking idle players, no matter how reasonable it is, actually deprives players, active participants and AFK-ers alike, of foundational FFXIV experiences .
Now director and producer Naoki Yoshida has provided an extensive breakdown of what steps the developers are taking to alleviate the problem. North American servers were recently upgraded, which has increased capacity to allow for an additional 18,000 simultaneous logins. A similar upgrade is scheduled for EU servers in the "immediate future", but Yoshida warns that until the upgrade is complete, EU won't be able to get the same increases as NA.
The team planned to implement additional servers and data centers for the 7.0 expansion, which likely would not be released until 2023. (The Oceania data center is still on track for the Endwalker release date.) The current congestion has the devs trying to speed up the process, but the ongoing semiconductor shortage and continued travel restrictions has made acceleration difficult.
"Though the obstacles that still face us are many, we believe that the best, most effective method for providing our players a stress-free gameplay experience is through the introduction of new servers and data centers," Yoshida says. "To see this goal realised as soon as reasonably possible, we on the development, operations, and infrastructure teams pledge to continue to do our utmost."